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2016 MLB Draft Follow Lists – WAC

Brick Paskiewicz is one of college baseball’s best all-around players. There’s very little that he’s incapable of on the field. As a hitter, he flashes power, makes a lot of contact, and has an advanced approach. As a fielder, he’s well above-average in center with special athleticism, above-average to plus speed, and a strong arm. As a pitcher, he’s been up to 95 with his fastball (88-93 with serious sink otherwise) and can spot an average slider with above-average upside where he wants. Some I’ve checked with prefer him on the mound as a future athletic reliever with as yet untapped potential, but I’ll stick with him as a potential regular in center with continued growth as a hitter. His two-way college profile reminds me some of another old favorite, Louie Lechich, so a similar rise for Paskiewicz (Lechich was a sixth rounder) wouldn’t surprise me one bit. He’s good.

It’s fairly well-established by now that this year’s college shortstop class isn’t good. I’m about as positive a guy as you’ll find willing to do this for free and even I’ll admit that. That said…there are way more mid-major and small school types that can a) probably stay at shortstop in the pros, and b) hit frozen ropes even when dragged out of bed to do so. Paul Panaccione is one of the best of those types. In drafting Panaccione, you’d be getting a steadying influence in the middle infield, a hitter with a very clear plan with every trip to the plate, and an all-around solid performer with an increasingly intriguing track record of getting it done at the college level. Griffin Andreychuk, Brandon Greiger, and Ryan Yamane are all middle infielders that could wind up as similarly worthwhile mid- to late-round depth picks this June. Andreychuck, a prospect good enough that I took the time to think about and then commit the spelling of his name to memory, is the most similar to Panaccione and a threat to overtake him as the best shortstop prospect in the conference by year’s end. Greiger, a standout junior college transfer coming off a decent .478/.563/.701 (42 BB/30 K) season at New Mexico JC, has something to prove at New Mexico State. Early reports from fall ball were encouraging, so I’m bullish…and that’s even with the knowledge that his crazy 2015 stats don’t look quite as nice when viewed through the context of his team’s cumulative .377/.466/.613 batting line. Yamane has plenty to prove in his own right after injuries limited him to just 55 AB – very effective ones, it should be noted – last season. He’s more second baseman than shortstop, so that’ll have to be taken under consideration as well.

Beyond Paskiewicz and Panaccione, there’s a third Grand Canyon prospect I like a lot: catcher Josh Meyer. There’s really no getting around the fact that Meyer’s ranking is really aggressive considering his dreadful 2015 performance. The memory of his strong 2014 and really positive scouting notes (above-average defender in all phases, strong arm, very physical) prop up his prospect stock, but I could see why others may not give him the same pass for his recent struggles.

Yet another Grand Canyon prospect stands right there with Zach Muckenhirn as the WAC’s top pitching prospect. We’re talking about no other than Andrew Naderer. Both Muckenhirn and Naderer live mostly in the upper-80s – Muckenhirn can hit 92 and Naderer tops out at 90 – with average changeups that flash better, stellar overall command, and pitchability beyond their years. The two are very close as prospects since both do certain things particularly well. For Muckenhirn it’s his better by a hair change and fastball velocity, plus his unusually high baseball intelligence. Naderer wins with outstanding fastball movement and a developing cutter that has my attention. You really can’t go wrong with either as long as you keep your expectations (matchup reliever with a chance to keep starting as a crafty lefty) in check.

If more velocity is what you want, then check out Brett DeGagne’, Justin Dillon, Danny Beddes, and Matt Gorgolinski. Clocking in at a mere 6-4, 225 pounds, Dillon is the smallest of that quartet with the lowest peak fastball velocity (94 MPH) to boot…but he makes up for those “deficiencies” by being the only one of the four without present control issues. The door is open for any of those hard throwers – we could include the trio from New Mexico State (Joe Galindo, Marcel Renteria, Brett Worthen) who all can hit at least 94 – to wind up the highest drafted arm from the conference this June.

(I can’t mention the Western Athletic Conference without mentioning the “real” WAC. There’s not much of an online presence, so forgive the outdated flyer. Great league, great cause, great volunteers running the show.)

Hitters

  1. Grand Canyon JR OF/RHP Brick Paskiewicz
  2. Grand Canyon SR SS Paul Panaccione
  3. Seattle JR SS Griffin Andreychuk
  4. Grand Canyon JR C Josh Meyer
  5. New Mexico State SR SS Brandon Greiger
  6. Northern Colorado rSR 2B/SS Ryan Yamane
  7. Cal State Bakersfield JR 2B/OF David Metzgar
  8. Utah Valley State SR 1B/OF Mark Krueger
  9. Seattle SR 2B/SS Sheldon Stober
  10. Texas Rio Grande Valley SR OF Cole Loncar
  11. Sacramento State rSO OF Andrew McWilliam
  12. New Mexico State JR OF Daniel Johnson
  13. Sacramento State rSR OF/1B Chris Lewis
  14. Northern Colorado rSO 3B/OF Cole Maltese
  15. Cal State Bakersfield JR 2B/RHP Max Carter
  16. Chicago State rJR SS Julian Russell
  17. New Mexico State JR OF Greg Popylisen
  18. Texas Rio Grande Valley JR 1B Victor Garcia
  19. Utah Valley State SR OF Craig Brinkerhoff
  20. Sacramento State JR C Gunner Pollman
  21. Texas Rio Grande Valley JR C Jose Garcia
  22. Seattle JR 3B Brock Carpenter
  23. Grand Canyon SR OF Brandon Smith
  24. New Mexico State SR OF Cameron Haskins
  25. Seattle rJR 2B Cash McGuire

Pitchers

  1. North Dakota JR LHP Zach Muckenhirn
  2. Grand Canyon SR LHP Andrew Naderer
  3. North Dakota SR RHP Brett DeGagne’
  4. Sacramento State rJR RHP Justin Dillon
  5. Utah Valley State JR RHP Danny Beddes
  6. Sacramento State rSO RHP Matt Gorgolinski
  7. Grand Canyon rSR RHP Jorge Perez
  8. Sacramento State JR LHP Sam Long
  9. New Mexico State JR RHP Joe Galindo
  10. New Mexico State JR RHP Marcel Renteria
  11. New Mexico State JR RHP Brett Worthen
  12. Sacramento State SR RHP Tyler Beardsley
  13. Northern Colorado rSO RHP Connor Leedholm
  14. Seattle SR RHP Ted Hammond
  15. Seattle rJR LHP Connor Moore
  16. Texas Rio Grande Valley JR RHP Andrew Garcia
  17. Utah Valley State JR LHP Patrick Wolfe
  18. North Dakota JR LHP Brandon Radmacher
  19. Sacramento State JR RHP Max Karnos
  20. Cal State Bakersfield SR RHP/OF Chance Gusbeth
  21. Grand Canyon SR LHP Travis Garcia-Perreira
  22. Grand Canyon SR LHP Jaren Drummond
  23. Grand Canyon JR LHP Zebastian Valenzuela
  24. North Dakota JR LHP Ellery Breshnahan
  25. Texas Rio Grande Valley SR LHP Matt Rigby

Cal State Bakersfield

rSR RHP AJ Monarrez (2016)
JR LHP Alec Daily (2016)
SR RHP/OF Chance Gusbeth (2016)
JR 2B/RHP Max Carter (2016)
JR 2B/OF David Metzgar (2016)
JR OF/3B Ryan Grotjohn (2016)
JR 3B Joey Sanchez (2016)
SO OF Drew Seelman (2017)
SO OF Jarrett Veiga (2017)

High Priority Follows: AJ Monarrez, Chance Gusbeth, Max Carter, David Metzgar, Ryan Grotjohn, Joey Sanchez

Chicago State

rJR SS Julian Russell (2016)
SR OF Andy Gertonson (2016)
JR 2B Sanford Hunt (2016)
SO C Cody Freund (2017)
FR Cody Grosse (2018)

High Priority Follows: Julian Russell

Grand Canyon

SR LHP Andrew Naderer (2016)
SR LHP Travis Garcia-Perreira (2016)
SR RHP Cameron Brendel (2016)
SR LHP Jaren Drummond (2016)
rSO LHP Ethan Evanko (2016)
rSR RHP Jorge Perez (2016)
JR LHP Zebastian Valenzuela (2016)
JR OF/RHP Brick Paskiewicz (2016)
JR C Josh Meyer (2016)
SR OF Brandon Smith (2016)
SR SS Paul Panaccione (2016)
rSR 2B Krysthian Leal (2016)
JR OF Brian Kraft (2016)
JR OF Matt Haggerty (2016)
SO LHP Jake Repavich (2017)
SO RHP Mick Vorhof (2017)
SO OF Thomas Lerouge (2017)
SO OF Garrison Schwartz (2017)
SO INF Greg Saenz (2017)
SO 3B/SS Ben Mauseth (2017)
FR RHP/SS Tyler Wyatt (2018)
FR SS Marc Mumper (2018)
FR 1B/OF Zach Malis (2018)

High Priority Follows: Andrew Naderer, Travis Garcia-Perreira, Cameron Brendel, Jaren Drummond, Jorge Perez, Zebastian Valenzuela, Brick Paskiewicz, Josh Meyer, Brandon Smith, Paul Panaccione, Brian Kraft

New Mexico State

JR RHP Joe Galindo (2016)
JR RHP Brett Worthen (2016)
JR RHP Marcel Renteria (2016)
JR SS/RHP LJ Hatch (2016)
SR 1B Joseph Koerper (2016)
SR OF Cameron Haskins (2016)
JR OF Daniel Johnson (2016)
JR OF Greg Popylisen (2016)
SR SS Brandon Greiger (2016)
JR C Chad Reibenspies (2016)
SR SS/OF Jay Sheeley (2016)
FR FR LHP Steven Butts (2018)
FR RHP/SS Alex Reyes (2018)
FR SS Roman Trujillo (2018)

Whole new team –three are only returnees

High Priority Follows: Joe Galindo, Brett Worthen, Marcel Renteria, Joseph Koerper, Cameron Haskins, Daniel Johnson, Greg Popylisen, Brandon Greiger

North Dakota

JR LHP Zach Muckenhirn (2016)
SR RHP Brett DeGagne’ (2016)
JR LHP Ellery Breshnahan (2016)
JR LHP Brandon Radmacher (2016)
SR SS Daniel Lockhert (2016)
SO OF Brett Harrison (2017)
rFR OF/C Miles Lewis (2017)

High Priority Follows: Zach Muckenhirn, Brett DeGagne’, Ellery Breshnahan, Brandon Radmacher

Northern Colorado

SR RHP Spencer Applebach (2016)
rSO RHP Connor Leedholm (2016)
JR LHP/OF Nick Tanner (2016)
JR OF Dan Reese (2016)
JR C Jake Garcia (2016)
rSO 3B/OF Cole Maltese (2016)
rSR 2B/SS Ryan Yamane (2016)
SO RHP Justin Mulvaney (2017)
SO C Payton Tapia (2017)
SO 1B Marco Castilla (2017)
FR OF Cam Huber (2018)

High Priority Follows: Connor Leedholm, Cole Maltese, Ryan Yamane

Sacramento State

rSO RHP Matt Gorgolinski (2016)
JR RHP Max Karnos (2016)
SR RHP Tyler Beardsley (2016)
rJR RHP Justin Dillon (2016)
SR RHP Grant Kukuk (2016)
JR RHP Austin Ragsdale (2016)
JR LHP Sam Long (2016)
JR RHP Chad Perry (2016)
rSR OF/1B Chris Lewis (2016)
rSO OF Andrew McWilliam (2016)
SR SS Trent Goodrich (2016)
JR 2B Brandon Hunley (2016)
JR INF Kody Reynolds (2016)
JR C Gunner Pollman (2016)
SO SS PJ Floyd (2017)
SO 3B Devin Lehman (2017)
SO 1B Vinny Esposito (2017)
FR OF Matt Smith (2018)
FR C James Outman (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Gorgolinski, Max Karnos, Tyler Beardsley, Justin Dillon, Grant Kukuk, Sam Long, Chris Lewis, Andrew McWilliam, Gunnar Pollman

Seattle

SR RHP Ted Hammond (2016)
rSR RHP Grant Gunning (2016)
rJR LHP Connor Moore (2016)
JR 3B Brock Carpenter (2016)
SR 2B/SS Sheldon Stober (2016)
rJR 2B Cash McGuire (2016)
JR C/1B Mike McCann (2016)
JR SS Griffin Andreychuk (2016)
SO LHP Nick Meservey (2017)
SO LHP Tarik Skubal (2017)
SO RHP Janson Junk (2017)
SO RHP Ryan Freitas (2017)
SO OF Dalton Hurd (2017)
SO INF Sean Sutton (2017)
FR SS Chase Ridder (2018)
FR RHP Zach Wolf (2018)
FR LHP Tyler Oldenberg (2018)
FR OF Jeffrey Morgan (2018)
FR C/OF Kyler Murphy (2018)

High Priority Follows: Ted Hammond, Connor Moore, Brock Carpenter, Sheldon Stober, Cash McGuire, Mike McCann, Griffin Andreychuk

Texas Rio Grande Valley

JR RHP Andrew Padron (2016)
SR LHP Matt Rigby (2016)
JR RHP Eddie Delgado (2016)
JR RHP Andrew Garcia (2016)
SR OF Cole Loncar (2016)
JR 1B Victor Garcia (2016)
JR C Jose Garcia (2016)
SR OF Correy Davis (2016)
SO RHP Robert Quinonez (2017)
SO RHP Ryan Jackson (2017)
SO RHP Johnny Gonzalez (2017)
FR RHP Pablo Ortiz (2018)

High Priority Follows: Matt Rigby, Andrew Garcia, Cole Loncar, Victor Garcia, Jose Garcia

Utah Valley State

JR RHP Danny Beddes (2016)
JR LHP Patrick Wolfe (2016)
JR RHP Matt Davidson (2016)
JR RHP Eric Olguin (2016)
SR 1B/OF Mark Krueger (2016)
SR OF Craig Brinkerhoff (2016)
SR 2B/SS Greyson Bogden (2016)
SR 1B Spencer Gothberg (2016)
SO LHP Jackson Cofer (2017)
SO RHP Evan Fresquez (2017)
SO C Jake Atkinson (2017)
FR 2B Paul Estrada (2018)

High Priority Follows: Danny Beddes, Patrick Wolfe, Matt Davidson, Eric Olguin, Mark Krueger, Craig Brinkerhoff

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WAC 2015 MLB Draft All-Prospect Team

Seattle SR C Brian Olson
Grand Canyon rJR 1B Rouric Bridgewater
Grant Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra
Chicago State JR SS Julian Russell
Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin
Seattle JR OF Landon Cray
Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes
Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Parks

Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin
Grand Canyon SR LHP Brandon Bonilla
Grand Canyon SR RHP Jorge Perez
North Dakota SR RHP Andrew Thome
Grand Canyon JR LHP Andrew Naderer

The WAC’s highest upside arm is attached to the body of Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin, a big (6-6, 225) college reliever with the stuff and athleticism to potentially move to the rotation as a professional. His fastball is consistently in the low- to mid-90s (90-95, 97 peak) and his changeup is one the better pitches of its kind in college ball. If he stays put in the bullpen in the pros, I could see him being a sneaky contender for this year’s draft’s fastest moving pitcher. I won’t go so far as to say I think he’ll be the fastest, but with two plus pitches already in the bag he’d certainly be in the mix. Sacramento State SR RHP Brennan Leitao has been a good college pitcher for a long time now, but he’s done it without missing a ton of bats. That makes me more curious than ever about his GB% since his stuff (86-91 sinkers, tons of sliders) fits the groundball specialist profile.

Grand Canyon’s trio of pitching prospects includes SR LHP Brandon Bonilla, SR RHP Jorge Perez, and JR LHP Andrew Naderer. At last check (3/22), neither Bonilla nor Perez has thrown an inning yet this season. That makes ranking them above Naderer, Grand Canyon’s workhorse, a bit odd at face value, but, as in all but the most extreme cases, it comes down to pro projection over amateur production. Bonilla has long tantalized scouts with his size, velocity (upper-80s back in HS, but consistently in the low- to mid-90s now), and a really intriguing mid-80s circle-change. The parallels between his path and usage resemble what his teammate rJR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater have experienced over the years, but less game action can be spun more easily as a positive (or, more likely, considered neither good nor bad) for a pitcher than a hitter. Perez relies more on his ability to command the classic sinker (88-92, 93-94 peak) and slider (78-82, above-average upside) stuff. Naderer is a quality prospect in his own right with an exciting mid-80s fastball (90 peak) with all kinds of movement (he can cut it, sink it, and just generally make it dance), an average 79-81 changeup with promise, and a mid-70s curve; continued success could vault him past his more famous teammates by June.

Seattle SR C Brian Olson is a dependable defender with solid power and a decent approach. Grand Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra has more pop than most middle infielders and picks his spots really well on the base paths. Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin makes his unconventional third base profile (more contact and speed than power and size) work in his own way. Seattle JR OF Landon Cray has demonstrated fantastic plate discipline at the plate and all kinds of speed and range in center. Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Park does many of the same things well, but does it as a more affordable/signable senior sign. Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes can’t match Cray or Park as a defender (he’s better suited for a corner, where he’s quite good), but offers a similar balanced offensive ability to go with a deadly accurate throwing arm. All of those players look like potential draft picks and contributors to a team’s minor league system. With the right breaks from there, anything can happen. None, however, can match the upside of a player I’ve long liked as a hitter, but now have to admit falls well behind the rest of the WAC pack.

“The guy can hit any pitch, works a mature whole field approach, and goes into each at bat with a plan in place.” Words written here about the aforementioned Bridgewater back in his high school days. I also cited his above-average power upside, though updated reports have it as being more than that in terms of raw power. The problems for Bridgewater can be traced to the difficulty of projecting big league futures on any teenager with a lot of growing up left to do. There’s a reason why the success rate for even first round picks isn’t nearly as high in baseball as it is in other sports. The space between now and later is filled with untold obstacles. Bridgewater’s development, or lack thereof, as a hitter can in part be traced to not getting the reps needed during the crucial baseball gestation period where boys become men. Since leaving high school in 2012 Bridgewater has gotten 88 at bats. Even a talented natural hitter like Bridgewater will struggle with so few opportunities to hone his craft against the kinds of arms he needs to see at this point.

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Grand Canyon SR 2B Chad De La Guerra
  2. Seattle JR OF Landon Cray
  3. Seattle SR C Brian Olson
  4. Cal State Bakersfield JR 2B/SS Mylz Jones
  5. Sacramento State JR OF Nathan Lukes
  6. Northern Colorado SR OF Jensen Park
  7. New Mexico State rSR OF Quinnton Mack
  8. Chicago State SR 3B Mattingly Romanin
  9. Utah Valley State JR OF Craig Brinkerhoff
  10. Grand Canyon SR OF David Walker
  11. Grand Canyon rJR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater
  12. Cal State Bakersfield SR 1B Soloman Williams
  13. Chicago State JR SS Julian Russell
  14. New Mexico State JR 3B Derek Umphres
  15. Utah Valley State JR 1B Mark Krueger
  16. Sacramento State SR OF Kyle Moses

2015 MLB Draft Talent – Hitting 

  1. Sacramento State JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin
  2. Grand Canyon SR LHP Brandon Bonilla
  3. Grand Canyon SR RHP Jorge Perez
  4. North Dakota SR RHP Andrew Thome
  5. Grand Canyon JR LHP Andrew Naderer
  6. Sacramento State SR RHP Brennan Leitao
  7. Utah Valley State SR RHP Chad Michaud
  8. Sacramento State rSO RHP Justin Dillon
  9. Cal State Bakersfield SR RHP James Barragan
  10. Utah Valley State JR RHP Danny Beddes
  11. Sacramento State SR RHP Ty Nichols
  12. North Dakota SR RHP/1B Jeff Campbell
  13. Seattle JR LHP Will Dennis
  14. Seattle JR RHP Skyler Genger
  15. Grand Canyon SR RHP Coley Bruns

2015 MLB Draft Prospects – WAC Follow List

Cal State Bakersfield

JR 2B/SS Mylz Jones (2015)
SR C Logan Trowbridge (2015)
SR OF Jordie Hein (2015)
SR 1B Soloman Williams (2015)
JR OF/RHP Chance Gusbeth (2015)
SR RHP James Barragan (2015)
SR RHP Nick Rogowski (2015)
SR RHP Nick Dermenjian (2015)
SO INF/OF David Metzgar (2016)
SO 2B/3B Max Carter (2016)
SO LHP Alec Daily (2016)
FR OF Drew Seelman (2017)
FR OF Jarrett Veiga (2017)

Chicago State

rSR RHP Dylan Sterrett (2015)
SR LHP Dane Mehring (2015)
SR RHP Jerry Silva (2015)
SR 3B Mattingly Romanin (2015)
JR SS Julian Russell (2015)
SR OF Jordan Stroschein (2015)
SR 1B/3B Chase Matheson (2015)
SR 3B Matt Schmidt (2015)
SR OF Jared Patterson (2015)
SR C Robert Swenson (2015)
SO 2B Sanford Hunt (2016)

Grand Canyon

rJR 1B/OF Rouric Bridgewater (2015)
JR OF Brandon Smith (2015)
SR 2B Chad De La Guerra (2015)
SR OF David Walker (2015)
SR C Humberto Aranda (2015)
JR SS Paul Panaccione (2015)
JR LHP Andrew Naderer (2015)
SR LHP Brandon Bonilla (2015)
SR RHP Jorge Perez (2015)
SR RHP Coley Bruns (2015)
SO LHP Ethan Evanko (2016)
SO C Josh Meyer (2016)

New Mexico State

SR LHP Trey Higginbotham (2015)
SR RHP Billy Conrad (2015)
SR LHP Robert Kraft (2015)
SR RHP Riley Barr (2015)
JR RHP Zach Freeman (2015)
SR RHP Trey Gonsalez (2015)
SR RHP Quentin Mansfield (2015)
SR OF Michael Paulson (2015)
JR 3B Derek Umphres (2015)
JR 1B Joseph Koerper (2015)
SR OF Kyle Young (2015)
JR SS/OF Jay Sheeley (2015)
SO RHP Matt Moriarty (2016)
FR INF Jake Hasbrouck (2017)

North Dakota

SR SS Tyler Follis (2015)
JR SS Daniel Lockhert (2015)
SR OF Sam Alt (2015)
SR 1B Ryan Reese (2015)
SR OF Dalton Parrott (2015)
SR RHP/1B Jeff Campbell (2015)
SR RHP Andrew Thome (2015)
SR RHP Alex Twenge (2015)
SR RHP Tyler Ruemmele (2015)
SO LHP Ellery Breshnahan (2016)
SO LHP Zach Muckenhirn (2016)
FR RHP Cameron Powell (2017)
FR OF Brett Harrison (2017)
FR OF Miles Lewis (2017)

Northern Colorado

SR OF Jensen Park (2015)
SR SS/2B Ryan Yamane (2015)
JR RHP Spencer Applebach (2015)
JR LHP Matt Loutzenhiser (2015)
SO RHP Chase Cleary (2016)
SO LHP/OF Nick Tanner (2016)
FR C Payton Tapia (2017)

Sacramento State

SR RHP Brennan Leitao (2015)
SR RHP Ty Nichols (2015)
JR RHP Sutter McLoughlin (2015)
rSR LHP Jake Stassi (2015)
rSO RHP Justin Dillon (2015)
JR OF Nathan Lukes (2015)
JR OF Chris Lewis (2015)
SR OF Kyle Moses (2015)
JR C Dane Fujinaka (2015)
SR SS Scotty Burcham (2015)
SO 2B Brandon Hunley (2016)
SO OF Ryan Locke (2016)
SO RHP Jared Paderez (2016)
SO RHP Austin Ragsdale (2016)
SO LHP Sam Long (2016)
SO RHP Chad Perry (2016)
SO RHP Grant Kukuk (2016)
FR SS PJ Floyd (2017)
FR 3B Devin Lohman (2017)
FR 1B Vinnie Esposito (2017)

Seattle

SR C Brian Olson (2015)
JR OF Landon Cray (2015)
JR 2B Cash McGuire (2015)
SR LHP Garrett Anderson (2015)
SR LHP Kyle Doyle (2015)
JR RHP Ted Hammond (2015)
JR LHP Connor Moore (2015)
JR LHP Will Dennis (2015)
JR RHP Skyler Genger (2015)
rJR RHP Grant Gunning (2015)
SO C/1B Mike McCann (2016)
SO SS Griffin Andreychuk (2016)
SO 3B Brock Carpenter (2016)
FR LHP Tarik Skubal (2017)
FR RHP Chris Carns (2017)

Texas-Pan American

SR LHP Alex Henson (2015)
SR RHP Blake English (2015)
JR OF Cole Loncar (2015)
SO 1B Victor Garcia (2016)

Utah Valley State

SR RHP Chad Michaud (2015)
JR LHP Braden Poole (2015)
JR RHP Danny Beddes (2015)
SR 3B Palmer Page (2015)
JR 1B Mark Krueger (2015)
JR OF Craig Brinkerhoff (2015)
JR 2B/SS Greyson Bogden (2015)
JR C/OF Seth Rhineer (2015)
SR OF/LHP Kade Andrus (2015)
SO RHP Matt Davidson (2016)
SO RHP Eric Olguin (2016)
FR C Jake Atkinson (2017)

2013 MLB Draft Conference Preview: WAC

WAC now, Pac-12 and Missouri Valley both almost ready to see the light of day. Finally starting to make some progress on these things. No hesitation, let’s talk WAC…

Here’s the key for the player lists:

  • Bold = locks to be drafted
  • Italics = definite maybes
  • Underlined = possible risers
  • Plain text = long shots

Here we go…

C

  • Cal State Bakersfield JR C Cael Brockmeyer
  • Texas State rJR C Tyler Pearson 
  • Louisiana Tech rJR C Kyle Arnsberg
  • Texas State SR C Andrew Stumph 
  • Dallas Baptist SR C Duncan McAlpine
  • Texas-Arlington JR C Greg McCall
  • Seattle rJR C Ryan Somers

Brockmeyer’s size (6-5, 220 pounds) may necessitate a permanent move to first at some point, but his defense at present is good enough to stick for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that he’s a better prospect the longer he can catch, but it is also worth mentioning that his bat is interesting enough that he’d also be the top first base prospect in the conference if that’s where you think he’ll eventually wind up. A pair of recent transfers share the spotlight with Brockmeyer near the top of the list. Tyler Pearson, a Rice transfer, comes to Texas State as an acclaimed defender. He’ll join powerful yet raw defender Andrew Stumph in what could be a particularly strong offense/defense timeshare. Kyle Arnsberg underwhelmed at the plate last year after transferring from Arizona State by way of McLennan JC, but brings enough positives to the table — athleticism, above-average defender, size, plate discipline — to watch him as a potential senior sign of note.

1B

  • Sacramento State SR 1B Clay Cederquist
  • San Jose State JR 1B Matt Carroll
  • Texas-Arlington SR 1B JM Twitchell
  • San Jose State JR 1B Matt Lopez 
  • Texas State JR 1B Austin O’Neal
  • Dallas Baptist JR 1B Chane Lynch
  • New Mexico State SR 1B Kris Koerper

A good college first base prospect is hard to find, and things are no different in the WAC than they are across the rest of the country. Any one of Cederquist, Carroll, or Twitchell could be drafted based largely on the strength of their bats.  Koerper’s power would put him in the same ballpark, but I don’t believe he’ll be suiting up for New Mexico State in 2013.

2B

  • New Mexico State SR 2B Parker Hipp
  • Sacramento State SR 2B Andrew Ayers
  • San Jose State JR 2B Jacob Valdez
  • Cal State Bakersfield JR 2B Oscar Sanay

There continues to be little to no buzz about Parker Hipp from a scouting standpoint, but all he’s done is put up numbers for New Mexico State. I don’t have anything new on him since last spring, so I’m hoping that what I wrote about him last year holds true today: “raw totals are inflated by home park, but park/schedule adjusted numbers still show his tremendous plate discipline; getting him into pro ball may help him go back to a less power-oriented swing; solid glove.”

3B

  • Sacramento State JR 3B Will Soto
  • San Jose State JR 3B Caleb Natov
  • New Mexico State SR 3B Robert Lecount

Quick and easy view on the hot corner: three useful college players, but not much to see in terms of pro prospects.

SS

  • Louisiana Tech SR SS Taylor Terrasas
  • Texas State SR SS Nick Smelser 
  • Texas-Arlington JR SS Ryan Walker
  • Louisiana Tech JR SS Ryan Gebhardt

Things are a little bit better with this shortstop group, but I still think we’re looking at really good college players rather than legitimate professional prospects. Terrasas (.330/.435/.509) and Gebhardt (.327/.399/.399) both walked as much as they struck out last year, Walker showed the best power/speed blend (.428 slugging and 14/18 SB), and Smelser, the least impressive statistically of the quartet, has the best all-around tools package, especially on defense.

OF

  • Texas-San Antonio JR OF Riley Good
  • Dallas Baptist rSR OF Boomer Collins 
  • San Jose State SR OF Nick Schulz 
  • Louisiana Tech JR OF Sam Alvis 
  • Texas-Arlington rJR OF Matt Shortall
  • New Mexico State JR OF Quinnton Mack
  • Sacramento State JR OF Justin Higley
  • New Mexico State rJR OF Tanner Rust
  • Texas State SR OF Morgan Mickan
  • Texas-San Antonio SR OF Daniel Rockett
  • Sacramento State rJR OF David Del Grande
  • Texas-San Antonio JR OF John Welborn 
  • New Mexico State SR OF Kyle Phillips
  • Dallas Baptist SR OF Ronnie Mitchell

Regular readers know I hate the idea of sleepers — too many people out there care about this stuff that I find it very presumptuous to assume I’m the lone voice supporting a particular prospect — but Riley Good comes as close to the idea in the WAC as I can surmise. He does all the things you want out of a CF — catch the ball, run, throw — while also showing off an average hit tool with decent plate discipline. It seems highly doubtful that there are any starting caliber outfielders in the conference, so a backup outfielder skill set like Good’s begins to look just fine after a while.

On top of having a cool name, Boomer Collins can play. His numbers put him at the top of returning WAC outfielders by a comfortable margin and his average power/speed/arm strength combo is enticing. The Nebraska transfer is the better bet to have a superior college season than the man ranked one spot above him, but Good’s age and positional value give him the narrow edge. Two-way standout Sam Alvis could be in line for a breakout if allowed to focus more attention on his role as a position player. Shorthall, a Tulane transfer, has serious raw power, but has not yet been able to put it to consistent use thanks to the too much swing and miss in him. Quinnton Mack has his fans, and Tanner Rust, a versatile defender who may be able to stick at 3B or C with more reps, could intrigue a team late on draft day.

P

  • Texas State JR RHP Kyle Finnegan
  • Dallas Baptist rJR RHP Jake Johansen
  • Texas-Arlington JR RHP John Beck
  • New Mexico State SR LHP Ryan Beck
  • Dallas Baptist rSR RHP Michael Smith 
  • Texas State SR RHP Mitchell Pitts
  • Texas-San Antonio SR RHP Clint Sharp
  • Louisiana Tech SR RHP Trevor Petersen
  • Dallas Baptist JR RHP Cody Beam
  • Texas State JR RHP Scott Grist
  • New Mexico State SR RHP Adam Mott
  • Texas State JR RHP Hunter Lemke
  • San Jose State JR RHP DJ Slaton
  • Sacramento State JR RHP Dallas Chadwick
  • San Jose State JR LHP Johnny Melero
  • Sacramento State SR LHP Tyler Hoelzen
  • New Mexico State SR RHP Michael Ormseth
  • San Jose State SR LHP David Wayne Russo
  • Texas-San Antonio JR LHP Michael Kraft
  • Sacramento State JR RHP Tanner Mendonca
  • Cal State Bakersfield SR LHP Jeff McKenzie
  • Cal State Bakersfield SR RHP Scott Brattvet
  • Sacramento State SR RHP Brandon Creel
  • Cal State Bakersfield rSR LHP Jonathan Montoya 
  • Louisiana Tech SR RHP Caleb Dudley
  • San Jose State SR RHP Kyle Hassna
  • Cal State Bakersfield rSR RHP Brandon Van Dam

Best prospect in the conference goes to Kyle Finnegan in a landslide. He’ll be a fun player to stack up against the rest of the country’s top pitchers – little bit of a big fish/little pond vibe going on with Finnegan heading into 2013. He’s predominantly a sinker/slider guy, but calling his two-seam fastball just any old sinker undersells how good a pitch it has become. I’d put his explosive two-seamer up against just about any pitch in the college game, thanks in large part to his much improved ability to command it and the ever-present downward movement. Grading out a good fastball isn’t exactly rocket science: there are other factors to consider, but if you simplify it to 1) velocity, 2) movement, and 3) command, then you give yourself a pretty decent starting point to evaluate. We’ve covered movement and comment, but what of Finnegan’s heat? For the most part, the 6-2, 180 pound righthander lives in the low-90s, but he can crank it up to the 95-97 range at the expense of some/most of the movement and command that makes it so effective in the first place. In addition to his four-seam, two-seam, and slider (a true low-80s offering that flashes plus when he can command it), Finnegan also throws an improved but still lacking low-70s change and a mid- to upper-80s cutter that is often mislabeled as the slider. His numbers were more good than great last season (7.33 K/9 | 2.51 BB/9 | 3.67 FIP | 93.1 IP), but a big jump in performance is expected (by me, and plenty of other smarter people) in 2013.

I mentioned earlier how I’m curious about how Finnegan stacks up against pitchers from outside the WAC. We haven’t covered nearly enough conferences to get a full picture just yet, but we can still work with what we have. A really quick look at the pitchers I’ve ranked so far, plus a familiar name from the soon to be published Missouri Valley Conference preview coming later this week, would look a little something like: 1) Sean Manaea, 2) Jonathan Gray, 3) Andrew Mitchell, 4) Austin Kubitza, 5) Ben Lively, 6) Aaron Blair, 7) John Simms, 8) Corey Knebel, 9) Dillon Overton, and 10) Kyle Finnegan. I think the most direct comparison right now would be between Knebel and Finnegan: low-90s FB capable of hitting more, CU needs work, flashes plus breaking ball (CB for Knebel), not completely dissimilar builds (we’re stretching here as Knebel is bigger at 6-3, 200 pounds, but most top prospects are bigger than Finnegan), and similar 2012 production (Knebel’s 2012: 8.67 K/9 | 2.32 BB/9 | 3.04 FIP | 73.2 IP). No real conclusions here, just thinking out loud.

Finnegan isn’t the only pitching prospect of note in the WAC. In fact, you could make an argument that the top three prospects are pitchers this year. If you take my decisions on to bold or not to bold to heart, then that’s exactly the argument I’m making. Johansen has been known for years as the poster boy for hard throwing, big bodied, no control righthanded college pitching prospect. His fastball/slider is ready for a pro bullpen tomorrow, but it is hard to ignore his ongoing issues with control. I’ve also long been of the mind that he needs something slower to keep hitters guessing a little bit more, though I now think I’m good with him embracing hard, harder, hardest and just letting it fly as a reliever. There’s a drop in stuff after Johansen, but the Beck brothers (note: not really brothers) both command the requisite three average or better pitches needed to entertain the notion they can start in pro ball. Sharp and Peterson fall closer to the Johansen tree, as hard throwers with below-average present control.

The Cal State Bakersfield duo at the bottom both missed the 2012 season after Tommy John surgery. I include them not only because I always like the give a mention to players coming off of injury, but also because it is easy to like any pair of teammates that can be so similar (injury and…same team? I guess mostly just the injury…) and so very different: Montoya weighs in at 5-7, 155 pounds (fairly close to my height/weight, which I know is fascinating to everybody out there) while Van Dam measures up at 6-7, 235 pounds.